Program Notes: A Big Mess Of Circus, Physical Theatre, And Dance

thanks for coming to the show. 

i have spent the last nine months training at the circus school in montreal, and am lucky enough to be back this summer to perform for all of you.  in writing the show, our primary focus was to combine circus skills and theatrical presentation to tell a story or three. 

this proved to be a difficult task. 

the theme of the show is time, or, more specifically, what it means to have all the time in the world or to realize that within the finite boundaries of every human life writhe an infinite number of could-be-experienced experiences. 

it might have been easier write a raucously rollicking hijinks-filled love narrative. 

but we chose time, and dove right in.

we brought the show from concept to stage in about 5 months, only the last 4 weeks of which were spend in the same place as the other.  the creative process included free writings, experimentation, and analysis of other literary works. 

along the way, we were fortunate enough to receive help and guidance from a number of people in the audience tonight who helped us stage this piece. 

The greatest challenge was balancing a message with entertainment without getting crushed by heavy-handed presentation.  sometimes it was hard.  heavy hands are heavy.

please enjoy the show, and tell us what you think about it afterwards.  it was quite a journey, but we learned so much by taking it.

what are we looking at, exactly?

We’ve incorporated many circus disciplines into this show. 

ACROBATICS 

in coming up with a short acrobatics act for this years show, i tried to avoid the repertoire of purely gymnastics skills and to instead present flowing, eccentric, elements. 

HAND-TO-HAND 

hand-to-hand is usually a duo act that requires a high level of concentration and strength, and can be an exhibition of static poses, a series of dynamic throws and catches, or any mixture thereof.  we tried to present simple hand-to-hand figures in interesting ways to set up a distinctive mood of disconnectedness. 

CLOWN 

circus school exposes you to a wide variety of clowning styles, may of which we tried to include in this show in search of common ground between slapstick, buffoon, and realistic clowns.   

STRAPS 

straps is traditionally performed with a high ceiling and with a team of riggers on a pulley line that help to change the height of the performer above the stage.  we had none of this at our disposal.  as a result, we focused on what we could do at lower heights while still creating an illusion of height and flight. 

HANDBALANCING

handbalancing is my major at the school, and pursuing it is a bit like trying to scale a steep mountain.  the rewards are few and far between and you never get anywhere quite as fast as you think you will.  if you rest for a second, there is no guarantee that you will ever make it to the top. 

on the other hand, even if you hike relentlessly you may never make it either.  there is a definite physical component to handbalancing, but the mental side of the discipline is what will make or break you.

THE STORIES:

PREDATOR AND PREY: BUGS

predator and prey are archetypes.  i think.  in our play there is a fly and there is a spider.  the spider wants to eat, and the fly wants to live.  the spider also does some acrobatics.  spiders and flies have been locked in their microcosmic struggle since they were invented — so what effect does an eons-long conflict have on the combatants?

TRAVELERS: THE TETHEREDS 

travelers are archetypes.  not much as bugs, but bugs set up a hard act to follow in the archetype department.  the central idea is that life is an infinitely number series of moments along a journey –  so what happens if you get lost?  can you get lost in there is no end to your journey to begin with?  well at least you can connect with people along the way.

TWO PEOPLE LIVING IN DOWNTOWN APARTMENTS JUST OUTSIDE OF TIME WHO NEVER MEET BUT CAN SOMEHOW AFFECT EACH OTHER THROUGH AN INPERCEPTIBLE EMOTIONAL ETHER

two people living in downtown apartments just outside of time who never meet but can somehow affect each other through an imperceptible emotional ether are archetypes.  located just between bugs and travelers.  i think.  two characters living their lives on different time scales like sloths versus hummingbirds.  are hummingbirds able to see a sloth’s movements?  can sloths appreciate the movement of a hummingbird’s wings?  

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